The Association of American Publishers reported on Monday that book sales rose 7.2 percent in January, with adult paperback sales showing the largest increase, an astonishing 37.6 percent.

At a time when overall consumer confidence is turning down, what could cause such a jump in book sales? I offer two possibilities:

  1. People are cocooning — staying home and reading rather than going out and spending.
  2. There is a flaw in the methodology used to produce the data. Perhaps booksellers were busy with Christmas sales and family commitments in December and slid some sales over to January in their reports.

It will be interesting to see if this uptick continues.